New York smokers; Photo - NY PostNew York quality of life is dropping - and the blame is on Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban. The Post reports that cops, business owners, and weary residents are sick of the fights, mini-parties on the streets, and pedestrian harrassment that seem after effects of no more smoking the bars. Some of the complaints:

* Noise levels on the sidewalks have increased, keeping residents awake.
* Throngs of smokers outside bars have created inescapable secondhand smoke clouds for passers-by.
* Smoker-filled sidewalks are causing congestion and often force pedestrians into the streets.
* Smoke wafts up into open windows of apartments above bars and restaurants.
* Cigarettes litter the streets.

In related news, the Oak Bar at the Plaza apparently hasn't been following the new regulations. There are still ash trays on tables and bartenders give out matchbooks readily.

Gothamist has a soft spot in its heart for the Oak Bar - a pivotal early scene of North by Northwest takes place there.